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Contemporary Folk Music: Lula Wiles
Contemporary Folk Music: Lula Wiles
WhenThursday, December 12, 2019, 7:30 PM
SponsorAsian Art Museum
VenueFreer Gallery of Art
Event LocationMeyer Auditorium
CostAdvance tickets are $6 each (choose your seats) at Remaining tickets are distributed free at the door, beginning at 6:30 pm on the day of the concert.
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AccessibilityWheelchair accessible

Celebrate the new Smithsonian Folkways recording by the creative folk trio Lula Wiles. Their original songs are inspired by musical traditions ranging from the protest anthems of Woody Guthrie to the trailblazing songs of Elizabeth Cotton and Hazel Dickens. In the new release What Will We Do, the voices of Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland, and Mali Obomsawin burn, twist together, mingle, and rise like smoke signaling changes to come. Anchoring this delicate touch is a mastery of folk music—and the trio’s willingness to subvert its hallowed conventions.

In 2016, the band self-released Lula Wiles, a sensitive, twang-tinged collection of original songs. Since then, the trio has toured internationally, winning fans at the Newport and Philadelphia folk festivals and sharing stages with Aoife O’Donovan, the Wood Brothers, and Tim O’Brien.

Lula Wiles creates music that questions cultural virtues, soothes aching wounds, and envisions a better world. The musicians take turns in different roles––Burke and Buckland on guitar and fiddle, Obomsawin on bass, with all three singing—but no matter who plays what, they operate in close tandem, buoyed by the nimble touch of drummer (and frequent collaborator) Sean Trischka. In carrying on the folk ritual of innovation, they infuse their songs with distinctly modern sounds: pop hooks, distorted electric guitars, and dissonant multi-layered vocals, all employed in the service of songs that reclaim folk music in their own voice.

This concert is presented as part of the Smithsonian’s Future of Music Public Forum, held December 12–14, 2019. For more information on the conference go to

Printed: Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 10:14 AM PDT